Steampunk Night at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre
The winds picked up Thursday night; the trees swayed and dramatic clouds rolled in. It was the perfect night for a steampunk adventure in the Third Ward. People were lured to the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre which offered half-price tickets for attendees in costume; at least a dozen obliged.
It was precious to watch the faces of the older folk making their way to the same seats at the Cabot Theater they’ve held for years as younger folk walked by in fantasy turn-of-the-century wear. More than once, a gent or lady had to remove a top hat or bonnet to clear the view for the people seated behind them.
Before Mark Brown’s adaptation of the Jules Verne epic Around the World in 80 Days took the stage, Steam Century entertained enthusiasts in the upstairs parlor with a mystery game while wearing their own costumes. Downstairs, there was a small display of themed costumes.
Before the play, actors Robert Francis and Norman Moses came out in semi-character to give a brief talk on what ‘steampunk’ is all about. The play itself is riddled with retro-science fashion and the inventinve stage design is ingenius in telling the story. While the cast breathed life into the characters, it was the work of production heads like Judy Martel, Keith Pitts, Kristina Van Slyke, and Jason Fassl that really brought the imaginative show and its created environment to life.
Afterward, the cast offered a talkback to the audience, sharing anecdotes and their feelings about acting in the play. Upstairs in the Skylight lounge, Eli August played. The two-person setup brought a full sound via a sensibility that goes along with steampunk.
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